The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Nominating Committee – a diverse group made up of about 30 rock and roll experts, including music executives, music journalists, historians and even a couple of musicians – met in New York City this past Wednesday to compile the ballot for the next Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee election. The committee meets once a year, and prior to the meeting, each member of the committee receives a package that includes a list of all of the artists who are eligible for the first time, all of the artists who have been nominated in the past but who have not been inducted and all of the artists who are currently eligible. Each member of the group can suggest up to three potential nominees. In addition, there are three subcommittees – one on progressive rock and heavy metal, one on hip-hop and one on early rock and rollers and rhythm & blues – that convene prior to the big meeting and suggest potential nominees in those categories. The only official eligibility requirement is that an artist must have released his or her first record at least 25 years ago.
Beyond that, the committee evaluates the influence an artist has had on rock and roll, the longevity of the artist’s career and the overall importance. Unlike sports halls of fame, where one can point to the statistics an athlete compiled over the course of his career, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is not based on numbers. In fact, record sales play a very small role in determining who is nominated. As a result, it’s all very subjective. And all of the members of the Nominating Committee are very passionate about their suggestions.
This year the committee members discussed a very wide range of artists – from those whose careers began in the Fifties to some who are still very active. Overall, more than 50 potential nominees were discussed and debated. Then a ballot listing all of the artists was distributed and each member got to vote for their top 15 artists. That vote determined who will go on the ballot, which is then distributed to the Hall of Fame’s voters – a group that includes all living inductees, as well as various executives, journalists, historians and the like. In the end, 12 artists made the ballot, and five will ultimately be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I can’t say who the nominees are, but I was very happy with the results – it’s a very diverse group of artists in terms of musical styles, eras, etc. But stay tuned – the nominees’ names will be made public soon.